I make it now for the cricket club teas and it disappears as though a plague of locusts hit the buffet!
This is my version, it’s a fat free cake and just about the simplest you can imagine making. It does require some planning, as the fruit has to be soaked overnight (or for several hours) but after that you simply stir in a beaten egg and some flour - what could be easier. It tastes deliciously rich, and belies the simplicity of its making.
You can ring the changes and make it a little bit more special by using different fruits and nice tea. It’s particularly nice made with Earl Grey tea, and even better with Lady Grey tea. For Christmas I always like to make it with the addition of dried cranberries to the fruit mix.
The basic recipe is :
12oz of dried fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas)
8oz light muscovado sugar (don’t get hung up on this, I often use soft brown sugar)
½ pint of strong hot tea
1 egg, beaten
10oz self raising flour
Make up half a pint of strong tea.
Place the dried fruit and sugar together in a bowl and add the tea, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave overnight for the fruit to swell and absorb the tea.
The next day, simply beat an egg and stir into the fruit mixture, then stir in the flour and mix well.
Turn into a lined 2lb loaf tin and cook at 150oC (between 275/300oF) for 1½ to 1¾ hours, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 to 10 minutes and then turn onto a rack to cool completely.
Best served sliced thickly and buttered (thickly!), with a nice cup of tea on the side!
I would like to dedicate this particular recipe to my dear neighbour, Peg. I always give her one of these for Christmas, and on odd occasions through the year we often share a loaf; this is her favourite cake!
(Bara Brith is pronounced Bar - as in barrel, a - as in apple, Bri - as in Brit and th - as in thanks. Translated, it means speckled bread)